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India Delivers Blow to United Airlines After Refusing to Let it Codeshare On Flights Operated By Emirates

India Delivers Blow to United Airlines After Refusing to Let it Codeshare On Flights Operated By Emirates

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The Indian government has reportedly refused a formal request by United Airlines to put its code marker on flights operated by Emirates as part of a major codeshare deal between the two airlines.

As part of the deal, United Airlines planned to sell and market flights operated by Emirates on 27 routes, including eight destinations in India. In return, United would place its ‘UA’ flight code on these flights and take a proportion of the revenue on each ticket sold.

The Economic Times reports that the application was rejected because the existing air services agreement between India and the government of Dubai excludes the possibility of a codeshare deal with a second airline.

“United approached the Indian government asking for permission to put their code on our flights from India but hasn’t been allowed by the government to do so. So as much as difficult it is, that’s the way,” Emirates president Sir Tim Clark told the newspaper.

“India has always been a bit mysterious when it comes to giving access to Emirates,” Clark said on the sidelines of the annual conference of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Istanbul.

“This stance doesn’t help anybody as it is a country with high GDP growth and a large non-resident Indian population who wants to travel. I don’t think this stance does anybody a favour.”

India recently rejected a bid by the Dubai government to amend their bilateral air services agreement in order to allow its airlines greater access to the Indian market. The agreement caps the number of available seats that airlines can sell on flights between Dubai and India at 66,000 per week.

The stance of the Narendra Modi administration will be a blow to United, which has been forced to suspend flights to several cities in India because of the closure of Russian airspace.

United and Emirates announced a landmark codeshare deal last September after the two carriers put years of animosity behind them. As part of the arrangement, United has also resumed direct flights between the U.S. and Dubai.

A codeshare deal is a common business relationship in the aviation industry whereby two airlines sell seats on each other’s flight and market them as if they were their own.

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